Monday, January 21, 2013

My Father, James Arthur Barrett 1940-2013

My father passed away about an hour ago aged 72 after many years of struggling with emphysema. The above photo was taken in 1989, when he was working on a local newspaper as a journalist. He and I were on our way to visit a Buddhist monastery on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. I notice now that he is not wearing any socks. Very typical.

My father was a great influence on me; his love of books, culture and above all poetry had a great effect on my formative years and set me on a course that in many ways I continue today. He was a nonconformist, he chose his life and what he filled it with. His father was a welder in a metal foundry, who barely completed basic education. My father was a scholar in the old sense of the word; studying history and languages as well as creative arts (photography and jewellery making) in his own time and in formal institutions. However he maintained much of the egalitarianism and directness he grew up with. He was kind man, and although he had a temper I never saw him raise a hand in anger at man or beast.

I last saw him only five days ago. May he rest in peace.

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